The era of hordes of microsatellites

At the end of 2017, Google introduced a user location tracking system that works regardless of which location settings have been enabled. About a month later, Chinese officials demonstrated the effectiveness of their huge video surveillance system when they tracked down the BBC reporter in just seven minutes. In general, the “Big Brother” seems to be getting more and more in our daily life. This constant supervision can receive a new impulse – thanks to the Finnish technical startup ICEYE, whose goal is to launch a fleet of microsatellites weighing less than 100 kg.

These tiny satellite swarms will be able to receive images of a certain terrain, despite weather conditions or time of day; because they are synthetic aperture radars (SAR) and operate regardless of the level of illumination and thermal radiation of the Earth. This capability makes them ideal for government agencies, military and rescue workers who may need such imagery to assess the state of any place on the planet Earth.

Signature to the image: These satellites can see through the clouds and the darkness

Satellites are small enough and can fit in a box measuring 80 cm x 60 cm x 50 cm – about the size of a microwave oven – and have antennas measuring only 3.5 m.

Using miniature elements of the platform Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) on their satellites, ICEYE enabled its engineers to create multi-functional miniature satellites.

“Changes occur both in value and in size, because the components of COTS have been miniaturized for use in mobile phones. In fact, we use the same components, “he added.

Despite the fact that this ambitious startup promotes innovation in the field of satellite technology, it raises the question of our right to privacy. Does this mean that a company that owns and manages these satellites decides what to show and what not to show?

“Big Brother” is already in our homes and sits in our phones, and now, with the development of satellite technologies, will appear even in our sky.